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9 House Painting Tips: Exterior Paint Project

house exterior painting tips

Just like any other home improvement project, fresh paint can do magic. However, home exterior painting needs to have a plan. You can’t just start painting without any prior knowledge or preparation because this will likely lead to a poorly done job.

From knowing the best time to paint your home’s exterior to picking the right exterior paint colors, there are a number of things you need to take into account to make sure that your house painting project turns out just the way you envisioned it. Not to mention the right paint type when dealing with specific areas that are made from different materials such as bare wood, stucco, or vinyl siding.

Here are some things to keep in mind when planning your house exterior painting project:

1. Prepare All the Materials You’ll be Needing

Imagine starting to paint your house exterior only to realize halfway through that you don’t have enough paint or that the ladder you’re using isn’t high enough to reach the second story. To avoid any stressful surprises, make sure that you have everything you need before starting your house painting project. This includes not just the actual paint and painting tools but also things like:

  • Tarps
  • Drop cloths
  • Painter’s tape
  • Ladders
  • Scaffolding (if necessary)
  • Paint sprayer (optional)
  • Paint scraper

2. Pressure Wash Your Walls

One of the most important steps in prepping your house for painting is to pressure wash the entire exterior. This will remove any dirt, grime, mildew, or other build-up that has accumulated on your walls over time. Not only will this make the house painting process easier, but it will also make the paint job last longer.

Make sure to have someone pressure wash your walls especially if you don’t have the proper equipment or knowledge on how to do it yourself.

3. Check & Repair Any Cracks or Damages

There’s a high chance of having cracks or damage on the exterior walls of your house. These need to be repaired before painting because otherwise, the paint will just accentuate them. What you can do is apply epoxy filler on the cracks and then use a putty knife to smooth it out. Once it dries, sand the area until it’s flush with the rest of the wall then proceed with painting.

4. Remove Those Loose Paint

If there are any areas with loose paint, you’ll need to scrape that off before painting. This is especially when trying to put paint on top of a glossy surface. If you don’t remove the loose paint, it’ll just peel off eventually taking the new paint with it.

If you ever encounter lead paint while working on an older home, be sure to take the proper precautions. Lead paint can be very dangerous if not handled correctly. Paint dust when inhaling can also be dangerous, so always be sure to work in a well-ventilated area.

Use paint thinner for oil-based paint and water for latex paint as this is a water-based paint. By doing so, you are not only removing too much paint or flaking paint that could cause drips, but you are also thinning the paint which can result in nothing but a good paint job in the end.

5. Use Caulk Gun to Fill in Gaps

Caulking is an important step in exterior house painting because it helps seal any gaps or cracks that may be present. This is especially important in areas where two different materials meet such as the windows, doors, and siding. By filling in these gaps, you’ll not only make your house look nicer but also help protect it from the elements.

Even having quality paint will not save you from having to do regular maintenance on your home if you don’t take the proper precautions. Part of that is caulking any gaps that you may have in your home.

6. Prime the Walls

It doesn’t really have to be the entire wall especially when you’re repainting. Just look for some stains, naked spots, or areas that have been previously painted with glossy paint. Once you’ve identified these areas, go ahead and prime them using a stain-blocking primer.

From there, you can wait for the primer to dry and then start caulking. Then apply wet paint as you normally would to the rest of the surface.

7. Protect Your Windows & Doors

You don’t want to get paint on your windows or doors so it’s important that you protect them before starting to paint. A plastic sheet can be used to cover the doors while painters’ tape can be used on the windows. Just make sure that you don’t accidentally paint over these areas.

8. Paint the House’s Exterior

Now, it’s finally time to start house painting your house exterior. Begin with the trim and work your way down to the siding. If you’re using a paint sprayer, make sure that you hold it about 12-14 inches away from the surface. For areas that are hard to reach, you can use a paintbrush.

9. Proceed to Doors and Trims

After extensive house painting, it’s now time to focus on the trims and doors. Start with the door frames then move on to the actual doors. When painting the trims, make sure to use a paintbrush as it will give you more control. Prepare drop cloths beforehand to avoid making a mess.

10. Let Wet Paint Dry

Drying is a critical part of painting exteriors. This is where you let the wet paint dry before adding another layer if you are planning to do two coats. Weather is the most important factor that you need to take into account when it comes to drying paint. If it’s too hot, the paint will dry too quickly which will then result in cracks. If it’s too cold, the paint will not dry at all or it might take forever to do so.

To give you a better idea of how long a paint color will dry depending on the type of paint and the current weather conditions, here’s a:

Helpful drying time guide:

  • Oil-based paint: 6 to 8 hours, recoat after 24 hours
  • Latex paint: 1 hour to dry, recoat in 4 hours

The Bottom Line

Knowing where to start is always a good thing but it’s even better when you know how to properly prepare for house painting. By following the steps above, you can be sure that your house painting project will go smoothly and yield great results that will last for years.

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